Public cholesterol screening in the previously diagnosed: Misuse of resources or beneficial function?

L. A. Maiman*, P. Greenland, N. G. Hildreth, C. Cox

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The attendance of individuals with a previous diagnosis of hyperlipidemia at public cholesterol screenings is often critic70ed as a misuse of such programs. This study explored the post-screening actions of 811 participants in a cholesterol screening program who had previously been diagnosed with cholesterol elevations and whose blood levels at this screening required further medical referral. We also studied the responses of physicians from whom these subjects sought care. Within five months 559 of 753 participants completing the survey (74.0%) sought medical follow-up. Physicians retested the blood cholesterol levels of 75.0% of these 559; high-risk screenees were more likely to be retested and to be informed that their levels were elevated than moderate-risk subjects (P < .0001). Physicians increased cholesterol- lowering dietary advice for high-risk subjects (P < .0001) and medication prescriptions for both risk groups (P < .0001). Participants seeking medical care after the screening program had better cholesterol-lowering dietary practices and reported increased regimen compliance (moderate-risk: P = .01; high-risk: P < .0001) than those individuals not obtaining medical follow- up. One year after screening, blood cholesterol levels were 4.5% lower (P = .001) in those complying with referral but were virtually unchanged in noncompliers. Screening program confirmation of high blood cholesterol levels combined with referral appeared to have a positive impact on previously diagnosed screenees. We conclude that there may be merit in including previously diagnosed individuals in cholesterol screening programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-25
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology


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